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Author Topic: Lying or Making Excuses?  (Read 1712 times) Average Rating: 0
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TinaG
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« on: May 22, 2009, 09:02:24 AM »

Is there a difference between lying and making up an excuse when it is done to protect your child and their feelings?  Situation:  Your child is being picked on by teammates for his performance on a sports team.  He wants to take a break from an upcoming game at the end of the season.  Is it lying or making an excuse to let the coach (who is not a sympathetic supporter) know your child is "sick, we're out of town, something urgent came up..."  I know you don't want to set an example to your child that lying is ok, but telling the coach the truth, who I have no doubt wouldn't take it out on my child in some subtle way, is not protecting his already damaged ego and self-esteem.

I don't want to make excuses for sin, but is there an Orthodox concept that lying or not telling the whole truth to protect someone can be acceptable?  I know this isn't life or death, but it's awfully hard to not feel that way when you have a child who comes home sobbing and devastated after a game.
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009, 09:16:00 AM »

Question - do you know if your child will play this sport (at least on this team) past the end of this season?  My thinking is that if you and your son agree that he can quit after this season, there's no reason not to tell the coach that you're pulling him off the team and why.  Also, how old is your son?
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FrChris
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2009, 09:25:00 AM »

I don't mean to interrupt the interaction between cholmes and yourself, but perhaps it would be best to contact the coach and explain fully why your child is wanting to take a break.

Then you will not have to worry about whether you are lying or making an excuse; the coach will be made aware of a situation that s/he may not know about; and you will teach your child how to courageously get problems solved through dialogue.
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2009, 10:04:05 AM »

I don't mean to interrupt the interaction between cholmes and yourself, but perhaps it would be best to contact the coach and explain fully why your child is wanting to take a break.

Then you will not have to worry about whether you are lying or making an excuse; the coach will be made aware of a situation that s/he may not know about; and you will teach your child how to courageously get problems solved through dialogue.
Excellent advice Father!
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2009, 11:49:51 AM »

the coach will be made aware of a situation that s/he may not know about; and you will teach your child how to courageously get problems solved through dialogue.

No offense Father, but I take
Quote
the coach (who is not a sympathetic supporter)
Quote
the coach... who I have no doubt wouldn't take it out on my child in some subtle way
to indicate that the OP has good reason to believe that the coach is aware or even if aware would not care.

To the OP: I don't necessarily disagree with Fr. Chris or cholmes advice as being the best way to handle it, but I'm not sure any of us know the situation well enough to say that. In a similar situation in the past with my child, I found "He's not doing well; he's not up to playing; and I'm not going to let him play." to be effective. First, it is true though vague. And the "I'm not going to" takes the focus off your son. If people will gossip and back-bite, it will be about the "overprotective parent", not the child.
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2009, 11:54:28 AM »

You could go with a nice vague "something came up, my child won't be there". True-something did come up; your child's situation. If the coach asks you for details a nice firm, "I'd rather not discuss it, it's personal" will suffice. We don't owe everyone a detailed explanation for what we do.
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TinaG
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2009, 12:21:15 PM »

Question - do you know if your child will play this sport (at least on this team) past the end of this season?  My thinking is that if you and your son agree that he can quit after this season, there's no reason not to tell the coach that you're pulling him off the team and why.  Also, how old is your son?

This is an ongoing issue with my 9 yo and his baseball team.  He's been playing pretty well for 3 years and now we've gotten an uber-competitive, obnoxious, bellitling coach who's new to the league and not generating any support among the league board members with his attitude.  My son didn't have a very good transition from machine-pitch baseball to kid-pitch and now with this team, the pressure has gotten to him and he's develped a sort of sports performance phobia with batting.   He fields well and can hit all day long in practice, but this team is just not supportive.  He's going to baseball camp in a couple of weeks and then we're taking a break in the Fall.  We'll give it another try in the Spring with a new coach.  He loves sports and this has totally made him feel like a bad athlete.  It sure makes you remember how painful being a kid was. 

Thank you for the suggestions Fr. Chris - I wish we were in a situation where we could be totally honest with the coach but I'm afraid there are some adults who aren't as reasonable as you.  Aside from this issue, would you say that there are times of true emergencies when lying or hiding the truth can be morally justified?  I'm thinking of situations of domestic abuse, wartime, etc...

Tallitot's suggestion to keep it vague might work.  If there are any probing question or negative comments I can always defer to my husband, who is at the point of wanting to pound this coach into the ground. 
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2009, 12:37:41 PM »

Question - do you know if your child will play this sport (at least on this team) past the end of this season?  My thinking is that if you and your son agree that he can quit after this season, there's no reason not to tell the coach that you're pulling him off the team and why.  Also, how old is your son?

This is an ongoing issue with my 9 yo and his baseball team.  He's been playing pretty well for 3 years and now we've gotten an uber-competitive, obnoxious, bellitling coach who's new to the league and not generating any support among the league board members with his attitude.  My son didn't have a very good transition from machine-pitch baseball to kid-pitch and now with this team, the pressure has gotten to him and he's develped a sort of sports performance phobia with batting.   He fields well and can hit all day long in practice, but this team is just not supportive.  He's going to baseball camp in a couple of weeks and then we're taking a break in the Fall.  We'll give it another try in the Spring with a new coach.  He loves sports and this has totally made him feel like a bad athlete.  It sure makes you remember how painful being a kid was. 

I remember this well.  When I was in high school, I had an off-season (non-school) swim coach who was a complete and utter ass.  He actually tried to use reverse psychology on us older kids who knew what he was doing and told him so, thereby scuttling the entire concept; you can't use reverse psychology on people who are aware of it.  He still continued to belittle and basically alienate everyone over the age of 14.  I actually quit the team but, thankfully, I had the support of my teammates.  We all pretty much revolted and coached ourselves until the club fired him.  To this day, I get leery around anyone with the last name of Bass; that's how much I hated that man. 

Quote
Tallitot's suggestion to keep it vague might work.  If there are any probing question or negative comments I can always defer to my husband, who is at the point of wanting to pound this coach into the ground. 

I agree.  The important thing is to get your son out and if keeping it vague will keep your conscience clean, do it. 
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2009, 12:59:33 PM »

Question - do you know if your child will play this sport (at least on this team) past the end of this season?  My thinking is that if you and your son agree that he can quit after this season, there's no reason not to tell the coach that you're pulling him off the team and why.  Also, how old is your son?

This is an ongoing issue with my 9 yo and his baseball team.  He's been playing pretty well for 3 years and now we've gotten an uber-competitive, obnoxious, bellitling coach who's new to the league and not generating any support among the league board members with his attitude.  My son didn't have a very good transition from machine-pitch baseball to kid-pitch and now with this team, the pressure has gotten to him and he's develped a sort of sports performance phobia with batting.   He fields well and can hit all day long in practice, but this team is just not supportive.  He's going to baseball camp in a couple of weeks and then we're taking a break in the Fall.  We'll give it another try in the Spring with a new coach.  He loves sports and this has totally made him feel like a bad athlete.  It sure makes you remember how painful being a kid was. 

I remember this well.  When I was in high school, I had an off-season (non-school) swim coach who was a complete and utter ass.  He actually tried to use reverse psychology on us older kids who knew what he was doing and told him so, thereby scuttling the entire concept; you can't use reverse psychology on people who are aware of it.  He still continued to belittle and basically alienate everyone over the age of 14.  I actually quit the team but, thankfully, I had the support of my teammates.  We all pretty much revolted and coached ourselves until the club fired him.  To this day, I get leery around anyone with the last name of Bass; that's how much I hated that man. 

Quote
Tallitot's suggestion to keep it vague might work.  If there are any probing question or negative comments I can always defer to my husband, who is at the point of wanting to pound this coach into the ground. 

I agree.  The important thing is to get your son out and if keeping it vague will keep your conscience clean, do it. 

Bass sounds like a good water sport name.

-Nick
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2009, 01:54:58 PM »

Just say that your child won't make the game. You don't have to say why.
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2009, 10:12:22 PM »

I'm not too keen on organized youth sports leagues and here is how I would approach things.

If your child wants to play, take him.

If your child wants to stay home, stay home with him and do not explain anything to the coach if asked.

Find another team for next season.
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TinaG
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2009, 11:38:54 PM »

Crisis solved and I feel guilt free - I just emailed the coach and told him "urgent family matter".   I think that pretty well sums up what this is.  A nice hike at a state park ought to be a good substitute tomorrow afternoon.
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2009, 11:41:55 PM »

Excellent.   Grin
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